Question: Questionable use of funds

I am a VP for my daughter's PTA. I am the only parent AND Board member who is visible and in the school building on a regular basis. My President is very lax in her position and procrastinates in addition to not communicating with us unless it suits her current needs. Our Board discussed a school store as an ongoing fundraiser. I volunteered (being the only available parent) to purchase and resell the items. I was able to open a credit account with a teacher supply store who already does business with the school itself. Long story short, my $72 invoice is still unpaid despite the $97 that I have turned in. Business is good and I have another $90 but I don't want to hand it over and have it vanish. Now, we have a reward outing planned for top sellers and participants of our fundraiser in the start of the year. The President wants me to hand over all funds to pay for pizza, tokens, etc. on this reward outing. Do I have to? She didn't want the store to continue and said I wasn't making enough (how much is enough, expenses are covered), so why should it be spent on foolishness for 18 children out of 900?

Asked by Anonymous



Advice from PTO Today

Craig writes:
A school store is a great way to teach kids about money and business. You can have kids participate in all areas of running the store, such as ordering, pricing, inventory, and taking money and making change. Some schools do make the school store into a good revenue stream, but it takes time and it's probably not the number one goal. If you want to continue to run the school store, you might look into making it more of a teaching tool. If the store is considered just a fundraiser, I can understand why the president would want to shut it down -- especially if you're the only volunteer who spends time in the school. It's a matter of opportunity cost -- there likely are a lot of other ways to use that valuable time than running a school store that isn't especially profitable. As far as the reward outing for your top fundraising sellers, that's pretty common. If the commitment has already been made to the kids, your group has to honor it. But that doesn't mean you can't change it for next time. If others are insistent on having rewards for the kids, you might have classrooms compete against each other rather than rewarding individuals. That at least promotes more of a feeling of team and "we're in this together."

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